Tea Bowls: Art of Five Senses : Contemporary Japanese Tea Ceremony Wares

Expressing Gratitude for Ippodo Gallery’s First 10 Years

Shoko Aono

“It (Teaism) insulates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.“ Okakura Kakuzo (‘The Book of Tea’) 


When you place a tea bowl in the palm of the hand, you will find that its shape, color, weight, texture and even the history it encompasses, transmits itself to you.  

As you drink the tea prepared by your host, your mind will be drawn towards the tea bowl, creating a state similar to meditation.  

In feudal times, the samurai would leave their swords outside when entering a tearoom, their senses being heightened by the proximity to danger as they enjoyed a bowl of tea.  Today, the tea ceremony provides a break from the ordinary, allowing contemporary people to escape the tumult of everyday life. 

Regardless of who made it, each bowl is imbued with the extraordinary feelings of the potter and I personally have been able to learn more of their philosophies through their tea bowls than through their words.  Each contains a unique microcosm that cannot be found in other art forms like painting or sculpture, continually enlarging the freedom of the viewer.  

This year marks our gallery’s tenth anniversary and we would like to take this opportunity to return to our roots.  With the support of numerous contemporary artists, we are proud to present ‘Tea Bowls: Art of the Five Senses’.

Each of these tea bowls embodies the dreams and prayers of the potter and I believe that the more people hold them in the palm of their hands, the more they will shine.

In closing I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the artists who have created these works and to everybody else who has supported Ippodo over the years.